Saturday, June 12, 2010


Sulieman Benn grabbed his second 5-for in Test cricket... a few days after being ordered off the field by his captain in an ODI. But after what could be described as a slow and grinding day of Test cricket, the balance is slightly in favour of the visitors.

South Africa's eventual score of 352 came courtesy a gutsy innings from Mark Boucher... a half - century and a partnership will Dale Steyn that took the score to respectability after South Africa looked in trouble at 230-odd for 7.

This innings from Boucher came just a few days after it had been announced that he will not be a part of South Africa's limited overs team and the gloves would be handed over to AB De Villiers. The fact that he play as a non - wicketkeeper is a different story altogether.

When the announcement to exclude Boucher was made, I was wondering whether we'll get to see such innings again from him. But like a true fighter that he has been all his career, he raised his game when it mattered. However, he will do well to remember that this innings might have saved him for some time to come. But in case more such innings do not come out of his bat, he will face the selectors' ax sooner rather than later.

1 comment:

Soulberry said...

Boucher's been a spunky cricketer but I think his time to decide is coming. A few months ago came across an article in a Saffer newspaper/blog about the development of keepers in SA. They are encouraged to develop an alternative string besides their glovework.

The writer, perhaps of orthodox stock, wasn't too happy how the two most promising keepers of the land were spending their time practsing reverse sweeps and/or bowling leg spin. Yes, one of the young front runners (forget his name now)can also bowl useful leggies besides keeping and batting! Don't ask me how he plans to keep to himself!

The point being made by the author was that the need for variety must not dominate specific slots in the team. A cricketer is like an opening bowler or batsman - usually they are expected to do a thing well while variety is like spice.

The author felt the success and failure of Boucher, both were responsible for this situation as much as the changing face of the game.

The key innings played by Mark Boucher for SA has convinced the Safferdom that matters about the value of a batting keeper. Likewise, the failure of Boucher to maintain consistency along with the new demands has pushed coaches to train their students differently.

I tend to agree with the author though - glovework is specialized and can be the difference between a win and loss. That must be the prime criterion. The ability to bat must also weigh in but not at the expense of gloves. The rest is immaterial and a bonus with a can-do sort of player.

Boucher should watch out as you say, but wonder what saffies will spring upon in case Mark's time is up.